Saturday, 1 November 2014

Theme Day - Landmark

One of London's newer landmarks, the nicknamed walkie scorchie building.  So named after it melted    parts of a city boy's posh car. Read this post for the story.

As it is the first of the month the city daily photo community choose a theme.  This month it is landmark.  To see other city landmarks visit here.

Friday, 31 October 2014

Spooky Chocolate

A creepy skull created in chocolate is Fortnum & Masons contribution to Halloween. Plus a range of chocolate tricks with delightful flavours such as fish sauce.

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Golden Leopard

One of the oldest livery companies, the first records of the goldsmiths company date back to 1100, although it is believed they were around before that time.  No written record exits of the date of their formation, however there is a record of them being fined 45 marks for having been formed without the consent of the king.

Their coat of arms features a golden head of a leopard.  During the 12th and 13th century the practice of "clipping" became widespread.  This was a means of diluting the purity of the coins, taking out a share if you like.  I guess the saying clipping the ticket dates back to this practice.  A set of regulations was introduced in 1299 by Edward I to ensure the purity of the gold used by English goldsmiths.  They were not to use anything "that had the touch of Paris," a term used referring to foreign gold.  To identify the regulated gold, it had to be marked with the leopards head before leaving the makers shop.  This was the first hallmark.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Tuesday, 28 October 2014


"Too much buying not enough talking" is what is written on the wall, while the art frames a shop window.

Monday, 27 October 2014

Paddington in the Bookstore

Big comfy chairs, thousands of books, London book stores are a great place to wile away a few hours.  And meet a few London icons.

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Ted and the Colonel

I had just put the Doll on a jet plane. I was at a loose end and hungry naturally.  I thought, I know I’ll go to The Colonel Fawcett. The Colonel is no less than the winner of the 2014 best “Sunday Roast in the UK”  award from a rather influential food magazine, and do not under estimate the competition in that, the most British of categories. 

That the Colonel is here at all is a testament to a labour of love by some savvy young friends who found and bought an old, abandoned, and very run-down pub and rebuilt it. They say they are in a very english fashion “a boozer with good food”. I applaud the modesty, but they are far more. They try to do everything right sourcing wise. They have a reputable butcher supplying their meat, and they support the small traditional and ethical producers.   

They have like a zillion gins on the bar, so while they graciously sorted out a table for me I tippled on a Monkey 47 and tonic. Once seated in the lovely garden I ordered what I had come for … several of the little dishes. But Ted I hear you say they won the best Sunday Roast award, why are you not trying that (yes you did I heard you). Well .. cos .. the little dishes looked really good and met that restaurant rule of what you wouldn't or in reality couldn't cook for yourself at home.  

I ordered violet artichokes in a parmesan crust with an anchovy mayo and what a fabulous dish, taste and texture spot on. Next I had cod cheeks and decided whomever made the coating and was on the deep fryer station was a culinary champion in the making. The final test ..quail on lentils with bacon and truffle ,would the lentils have that deep savoury rich earthy flavour, would the quail be well cooked, would the truffle even be there ... well judge for yourself. I licked the plate clean.   
What could make the Colonel even better? … some more "food friendly" wines on their list. I know they are a “boozer” but just a couple of wines designed for drinking with food would really showcase their excellent wares, and I can recommend a good supplier Sustainable Wines UK.

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Now - The Funeral Directors

More than a century of service seems to have come to an end.  Maybe they have moved premises, whatever the situation these Victorian premises seem to be used for an entirely different trade now.  Visit yesterdays post for how they were.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Then - The Funeral Directors

Remember the 25years in the making model of Kings Cross rail?   I thought it would be fun to take some of the detail and visit those spots to see how they look now.  This was the funeral directors as the model maker created after detailed research.  Every piece created  was measured and faithfully reproduced just as it would have looked in the 1930's.

Come back tomorrow and see how this corner looks in 2014.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

The Gas Holders are Back

The Victorian gas holders that were dismantled back in 2011 are making their way back after refurbishment.  They are being installed in a different spot, closer to the canal.  The new development will include a park, shops, restaurants and apartments.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Monday, 20 October 2014

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Ted and the Kings of Crispland ...

.. yes it's really true that 6.2 billion packets of crisps are consumed in the UK each year, that’s around 150 packets for each and every one of us!! Surprisingly (to me anyway) they were actually invented in America, where they are called “potato chips”. According to well-informed sources it was a chap called George Crum who created the original recipe back in 1853 in Saratoga Springs, New York. The global market for these little beauties is worth around US$ 20 billion a year (boy am I in the wrong job) and accounts for just short of 40% of the total snacks market.

They appear in almost every country in some form or other, often with their own local names and a range of distinctive and national flavours supplementing the more established and traditional selection. Flavours like guacamole, dill pickle, tomato ketchup, jerk chicken, wasabi, barbeque, paprika, chilli, scallop, teriyaki, sausage, chutney, and even marmite, the list seems almost endless. The multitude of flavourings available today were made possible courtesy of a little crisp flavouring technique patented in the 1950’s by an Irishman called yes .. Joe “Spud”  Murphy, owner of the Tayto crisp company.  Before Spud (BS) the choice of flavours was well plain and plainer with salt ...

Other “improvements” on the original have had more to do with the packaging, with the aim of trying to keep them as fresh and unbroken as possible. Today they are packed in plastic bags and filled with nitrogen just before sealing, although I fear nothing offers fool proof protection against a supermarket shelf stacker on a bad day after their football team has lost.

With this great bounty available I decided we had to have a crisp challenge and so I assembled a crack team of top tasters to put some crisps through their paces. Here they are the “Kings of Crispland” about to embark on their mission.

Twelve packets to be rated 1 (bad) to 5 (great) by look, taste and texture. A couple of packets from outside the UK, Spain and South Africa, just to keep things a bit global. I have included the handwritten results table for your ongoing analysis and enjoyment, but a couple of general comments first. We did an “averaging” of the scores to avoid punch ups, whether you did or didn’t like the flavour(s) being tasted had a significant impact on score, and we all fell for a big manly looking nicely tanned ridge cut flame grilled steak crisp half way through, and on reflection now think it is scored a point too high. 

And finally … I can't go without saying this ... anything that is made by extruding or pressing potato “dough” into a uniform size, shape and texture (like Pringles) should be run out of town for registering off the boring scale ... and that's the least of their many sins against crisps!

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Man and his Machine

He spent the entire day polishing his steam engine water board truck.  Pride as much as anything else keeps these old vehicles running in tip top shape so we the public can enjoy them on special occasions.  This outing was part of the celebrations of the way Kings Cross station was during Victorian times.

Friday, 17 October 2014

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